‘This is a time to come together’: Pence defends Donald Trump Jr. over coronavirus comments

CNN’s Jake Tapper asks Vice President Mike Pence about Donald Trump’s Jr.’s appearance on Fox News where he claimed Democrats “seemingly” want Americans to die from coronavirus.

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday defended Donald Trump Jr. after his controversial comments about how Democrats have responded to the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus.

Democrats have criticized President Donald Trump and other government agencies over a lack of preparedness, with some going as far to say the administration is downplaying the seriousness of the virus.

Pressed by Tapper about Trump Jr’s claims that Democrats “seemingly hope” Americans will die from coronavirus to hurt the President in the November election, Pence said it is “understandable” the President’s son would want to respond to the criticism.

“As the President said, this is no time for politics. And frankly, I think that was Don Jr.’s point. That there has been some very strong rhetoric directed at the President by some members of Congress..,” the vice president said. “But responding to the kind of things that have been hurled is understandable.”

Pence continued, “But what the President’s charged us to do, in my conversation with Speaker Pelosi, with Senator (Chuck) Schumer, my conversations with Republican and Democratic governors, is to set the politics aside on this and to work the problem. And I want to assure your viewers, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Tapper noted that Republicans have also chimed in with negative comments toward Democrats over coronavirus. Pence interjected, “Well, look, what I am telling you is that this is really a time for us to come together.”

Rep. Ted Lieu called for Pence, who was appointed to oversee the coronavirus reponse, to resign from his role for defending Trump’s son’s “shameful comments.”

“Dear @VP Pence: You need to resign from your coronavirus position with your shameful defense of shameful comments,” the California Democrat tweeted Sunday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday slammed the Trump administration’s response.

“We knew that this was coming. Back as far as January. They didn’t even begin to prepare the testing kits. I mean, this is something that’s kind of elementary. We talked about testing kits, we’re now going to get them,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called the administration’s response “opaque and often chaotic.”

At a rally in South Carolina Friday, the President accused Democrats of “politicizing” the virus, saying, “This is their new hoax.” Asked Saturday if he regretted calling the virus outbreak a hoax, Trump insisted that he didn’t.

“Hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody,” Trump said of administration critics. “I’m not talking about what’s happening here, I’m talking about what they’re doing.”

Trump said the criticism was a “continuation of the hoax,” and mentioned the Russia investigation and his impeachment.

“I don’t like it when they are criticizing these people and I don’t like it,” he said. “That’s the hoax I’m talking about.”

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